The South Dakota State Library has published a dynamic annual report of public library statistics for libraries to use in their communications and advocacy efforts at the local, state, and national levels. This visually engaging publication is dominated by graphics, photos, and impactful statistics, skillfully balanced with concise narrative and the all important design element of “white space.”
The publication smartly incorporates comparative data at the regional and national levels, featuring statistics on availability of public access technology (from the Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study), funding (and ROI), collections, programs, and circulation, including selected longitudinal data for three and 10 year spans.
“We have received some high praises and many kind remarks from librarians and local and state officials as well. Librarians are increasingly using it as benchmarks to begin conversations on the local level about the quality and funding of library services on the local level. Several libraries have seen increased funding when they shared their current level of per capita funding with the state or national averages,” said Daria Bossman, Assistant State Librarian for Development.
The State Library has created a similar publication for school libraries, and the 2011 edition is posted with the public library editions on the State Library’s statistics webpage.
Community stakeholders and elected officials are inundated with mountains of documents presenting important data and calls to action in a straightforward and dry manner. And in the majority of cases, this is the appropriate format for the delivery of information. Thanks to the South Dakota State Library, public and school libraries in the state have an advocacy tool in hand that should bring relief to the tired eyes of their target audience, and generate growing support throughout the state.